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A Must Read: Article on the Sikh Independance


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This seems like an interesting article.......newayz, I'd like your thoughts and I apologize if this has been posted already....

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Sikh Terrorism: the Struggle of a People

INTRODUCTION: Terrorism is the use or threat of violence, especially used for political purposes. The Sikhs, a group that mainly live in the state of Punjab, India has used terrorism as a mode to and a method to speak out against discrimination and oppression and also of advocating their desire for liberation, in one case.

THE PROBLEM:Terrorism is defined as the usage, or threat of violence, which is especially used for political purposes.

Throughout India’s history, there has been a struggle between the Hindus, who compose the majority of the Indian population, and the Sikhs who compose only about 2 percent. Sikhs also compose 63 percent of the state of Punjab’s population.

Sikhism is the youngest of the internationally recognized religions, which join the ranks of: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews. Guru Nank, who was born in India in 1469, created the belief of Sikhism. He believed: "There is one God. He is the Supreme Truth. He is the creator of the omnipresent. He is eternal and all pervasive. The idea of this religion came to mind when he craved for equilibrium, equanimity, harmony and peace. Later in the year 1699, Guru Gobind Singh founded Sikhism.

Through time Sikhs have been "branded" as militant Hindus. This however is not true, for Sikhs as stated before are a separate religion; and as part of the Sikh religion have a mission to: Protects the weak, fight for freedom of religion, and to serve mankind.

When the last Guru created Sikhism, he also had created Khalsa the Sikh Nation. Later in the undivided British India, an independent Sikh state was finally annexed in 1848. The Sikhs are an independent people who trace their heritage to the invading army of Alexander the Great over 2000 years ago. The Khalsa, which marked their beginning as a Nation in 1699, lasted as the Sikh Commonwealth from 1730 – 1849, which ruled the area, which is known today as Punjab. They also ruled in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir. After the transfer of power from the British government, the Hindu majority violated it solemn and documented assurances given to the Sikhs. At this time, the British government also legally declared the Sikhs as a part of the Hindu religion.

The Sikhs feels that being a minority is difficult; and that it is even more difficult with the Indian majority launching deliberate campaigns to discredit their minority. Political parties were allowed to contest elections to the committees that manage the Sikh Shrines. This would be equivalent to have elections to change officials of the church. The elections are managed by the majority Hindu government and the elections are held by it as well. Most Sikhs feel that the single element that has unyieldingly led to the present situation in India is the hostility of the Ary Samaj, a militia Hindu sect that was founded by Swami Sayanand, towards the Sikh religion. The Arya Samaj have been responsible for burning the Sikh scriptures, attacking Sikhs in Haryana and elsewhere and harassing them in other ways. The government of India failed to punish or restrain many looters and arsonists from acting against Sikh places of worship. The city of Chandigarh was built with the sole purpose that it would stand as the capital city for Punjab. Nonetheless, the Indian government insists on retaining control of the city. It is a violation of freedom of worship to expect the Sikh religion to be modified to suit the expectations of members of the Hindu religion.

The Sikhs have two separate goals. One goal under Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and another goal who take a different approach. Bhindranwale and his followers wanted to have Sikh-Hindu unity; while others feel that the best way to deal with the problem is to secede from India and to recreate Khalistan (Khalsa). Bhindranwale was a priest who preached about non-violence, tolerance, self-discipline, and peace. It was-known as early as the summer 1983 that the government wanted to kill Bhindranwale for raising his voice against an authoritarian government authoritarian government meddling in the Sikh's religion. There are several organizations that share the goal of recreating Khalistan. They are: Akali Dal, which is the Main Sikh Party. Also there is, Dashmesh or the 10th Regiment, who are active in India, Western Germany and Canada. Another group is Dal Khalsad, who in 1981 hijacked an Indian Airline flight to Pakistan. Babbar Khalsa, like Dashmesh also operates in India, Western Germany and Canada. Furthermore there is the All India Sikh Students Federation which is the militant student wing of the Main Sikh Party. Other parties include is Azad Khalistan, Khalistan Liberation Force, Khalistan Commando Force, and the Khalistan National Army. In 1957, Sikhs launched a movement for a "Punjabi State," which is a separate province where all people who speak the Punjabi language could enjoy the freedom of preserving and promoting their culture and heritage. The Sikhs have also declared that they are for the Indian Freedom Movement.

The Sikhs overtime have been subjected to persecution and many human rights abuses. There have been skirmishes, kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, and other abuses were the committed on the Sikhs. The Fifth Guru was tortured to death in 1606 because, according to the current ruler then, not only Hindus but also many Muslims followed him. In 1919, the British killed 1302 freedom fighters and 799 of which were Sikhs [sikhs Today: Struggle for Human Rights]. 21 Sikhs were killed when the police fired upon a peaceful "Rasta Roko" (stop the traffic) demonstration [The Sikh Problem]. 18 died at the massacre by the police on September 14, 1981 in Chondo-Kalan. 8 were taken off buses and killed by mobs in Haryana. [sikh Terrorism] 8 were killed by the police during a firing outside the Bibi Khan Kaur Gurdwara in Muktsar. According to Bhindranwale, nearly 200 of his men had been tortured to death and over 1000 crippled by torture at the hands of the police. From September 1981 till June 1984, Hundreds of Sikhs were killed in fake "encounters" with the police [The Sikh Problem]. When Bhindranwale was arrested in 1981, the police fired upon and killed 18 of his followers. Several thousands were killed in a few days when over 40 Sikh places of worship were simultaneously invaded by the Indian Army with tanks, artillery, helicopters, gun ship, etc. Tens of thousands of courted arrests peacefully in an attempt to persuade the Indian government. By July 1983, over 340 had been tortured to death. The government of India invaded over 40 Sikh places of worship in June of 1984; none of the places other that the Golden Temple was armed. The Sikhs in defending the Golden Temple were not hoping to overthrow the Indian Government. Their aim was to die fighting in the cause of freedom of religion. The Sikhs challenged the oppressors in courts of law and appealed to higher authorities, including the Chief Minister of Punjab, and other ministers and prominent people, as well as the government of India. The government however did not entertain any complaints of brutality against its law enforcement agencies. Another incident like this is where Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, in a letter to the members of the Indian Parliament in 1983, pleaded for an end to the campaign of ruthless repression against the Sikh young men were being tortured in jail and their unconditional release. But, once again this was on no help. Vicious abuse of the Sikh people including indiscriminate arrests, beatings and torture, and denial of due process of law continues. One reporter for the Christian Science Monitor on 15, 1984 named Nary Anne Weaver described the horror of a police search operation. She wrote: "the pattern in each village appears to be the same. The army moves in during the early evening, cordons a village, and announces over loudspeaker that everyone must come out. All males between the ages 15 and 35 are trussed and blindfolded, then taken away." Since these Army operations began, thousands have disappeared in the Punjab. People have been taken from their homes, tied up and shot. Others have been brutally beaten. Thousands, including children as young as 2 years old have been detained without trial and subjected to inhuman torture. There have been several reports of trains full of dead bodies of Sikhs coming into stations. There have also been gruesome stories of people being set on fire. The government have estimated that about 2000 have died. 1984 was perhaps one of the most violent and unforgettable years in Sikh history. There were large scale accounts of state sponsored terrorism against the Sikhs. Hindu mobs burned places of worship, shops were looted, all while the Indian police force and army looked the other way. In May of 1984, Security forces opened fire at the Golden Temple for 14 hours straight [sikhs Today: Struggle for Human Rights]. Sikh soldiers began abandonment from the Army; civil and foreign service Sikh officials resign in protest. The Army begins "search and destroy" operations in the Punjab. Since then over 60,000 Sikh youths are reported missing. Then on June 6, 1984 was without question, the worst event in Sikh history. Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India had ordered operation Blue Star, which was an Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which killed thousands of Sikh men, women and children who were in the temple for one of the most important religious occasions. The Army destroyed the Akal Takht; the holiest place where holy records and books are kept. The army also took away all jewels and valuables in the temple. This is now marked as the dark day of the Amritsar Massacre. At this same time, 74 Sikh Gurdwaras (places of worship) were also attacked. The Sikhs in immediate retaliation assassinated Indira Gandhi.

Throughout the world, not just in India, there have been many cases of terrorism on the part of the Sikhs. The Sikh terrorism is carried out by the several domestic and international groups seeking to establish an independent Sikh state, Khalistan. A violent movement emerged in 1981 when Bhindranwale began preaching of Sikh Fundamentalism and urging the Sikh community in India to pressure the government for an independent Sikh state; some of his followers adopted terrorism as one of their tactics. Later in June 1984, Indian troops stormed the golden temple in Amritsar. Bhindranwale and many of his followers were killed in the exchange. Terrorism within India, ranges from kidnappings and bombings to assassinations, continues at a high level. Sikh violence outside of India is finally declining after the attack in Amritsar. But, there have been regular and bloody attacks against Hindus and against Indian official targets, particular in the Punjab; desecration of Hindu holy places; assassinations; bombings and also aircraft hijackings. A group of Sikhs were responsible for bombing the Air India flight that down over the Atlantic Ocean in June 1985, in which the crew and 329 passengers were killed, and for an explosion at Tokyo airport on the same day, when luggage from a flight from Vancouver blew up and killed two Japanese baggage handlers [sikh Terrorism]. In 1991, Sikh terrorist attempted to assassinate the Indian ambassador in Romania and kidnapped and held the Romanian charge in New Delhi for seven weeks. Sikh advocates of a separate state of Khalistan have since engaged in bombings, sabotage, and indiscriminate murders of numerous government officials and civilians in an effort to keep the Khalistani cause prominent. Apparently, funding for terrorist operations appears to be generated strictly from within the Sikh community in India. The Babbar Khalsa group assassinated the Punjab Chief Minister outside his offices in Chandigarh on August 31, 1996. The Khalistan Liberation Force, claimed responsibility for the bombing of 3 civilian targets in New Delhi and Panjpit on September 21, 1996. Indian authorities suspect that the same Sikh group is responsible for a bombing in New Delhi on November 21, 1996 [1995-1996 Patterns of Global Terrorism]. Peace once again was shattered on August 31, 1995 when Beant Singh, Punjabs chief-minister – the man who had crossed terrorism and restored normality after a decade of violence, was killed. It is said that the military group, the Babbar Khalsa, assassinated Prime Minister Singh.

ATTEMPTED SOLUTIONS:

Solution 1) Informative Pamphlets about the Sikhs

A series of pamphlets intended to discuss topics of analysis of Punjab elections; India’s deceitful foreign policy and the suppression of civil liberties in India, was created by World Sikh Organization which is directed by Ganga Singh Dhillon which started on November 15, 1985. The Sikh Cultural Society (SCS) of Richmond Hill, NY came forward to provide the funds for printing and distribution of these pamphlets. The purpose is to inform and educate the American public opinion, and to show that it is not the responsibility of some Sikhs, but of all Sikhs. This was quite effective in informing the American public, or to those interested in the matter. This is not effective though if this does not circulate to the U.S. department of foreign relations of to the United Nations. If the United Nations could get involved, perhaps the problem could be solved.

Solution 2) Declaration of Sikh Recognition

In 1929-1930, Mohondas K. Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharia Nehru had declared that Sikhs would be treated as a distinct separate entity and no Indian constitution would be approved without the participation and endorsement of the Sikhs. This was effective for the term that it lasted, in that it allowed the Sikhs to live by rules that they agreed to. This however was not effective because it soon lost value and Sikhs continued to become subjected to many different abuses.

Solution 3) Sikh’s Appeal to the Government of India

The Sikhs challenged the oppressors in courts of law and appealed with complaints of brutality of the law enforcement agencies, to authorities including the Chief Minister of Punjab, other ministers and prominent people, and the Government of India. This appeal though attempted, was not effective against the government. This did not work because due to the state of terrorism and other factors the government had not done a thing.

Solutions 4) A Letter of Plead to the Parliament

Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, in a letter to the members of the Indian Parliament in 1983, pleaded for an end to the campaign of ruthless repression against the Sikh young men who were being tortured in jail and their unconditional release. This like the previous solution was also not effective. This plead had no effect on the Parliament and was not effective, because much of the Sikhs were in malicious activity and the government did not want to negotiate with a party that is not willing to abate.

Solutions 5) India-Egypt Anti-Terrorism Agreement

India has recently signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with Egypt to combat international terrorism and organized crime. This would focus on decreasing all terrorist activities by working together to solve the problems. This was effective because it took the war against terrorism to a more regional scale instead of within a single country. This made it more stable and reliable. The two countries could rely on one another. This was ineffective because it will focus more on general terrorism, while not really focusing on problems of smaller magnitudes.

Solution 6) Creation of International Organizations to Deal with Sikh Problems

The Sikh's have created several international organizations that deal with Sikh problems overseas. The most renowned organizations are the World Sikh Organization and the International Sikh Youth Federation. They focus on disputes and problems that the Sikhs must deal with and encounter. By creating these, Sikhs can have a better, more organized, less violent method of achieving their goals. They could deal with organizations outside of India and make the problem more known. Having people more informed of the problem could help them solve more of the problems. Rejection of these organizations could possibly cause the Sikhs to be enraged and could spur on more terrorist activities.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS:

Solution 1) Peace Agreement with the United Nations

The United Nations should intervene on the matter and let two leaders representing The Sikhs and India talk over the matters. They could discuss letting the Sikhs have there own province or country were they could prosper on their own and embellish their culture. By doing this, it would ensure agreement because India would respect the UN and they would realize that this would be the fairest way of deciding what to do with the matter. On the other hand, India could totally deny the UN rights to intervene because this is already dealt with within the constitution. This would cause Sikh temperament to become worse. This meeting could easily take place. The UN could meet in India and establish peace talks between the leaders of the parties.

Solutions 2) Positive Promotions of India’s Different Groups

One way to have more people accept one another would be to promote the different groups around India. Through the media, they would tell more of positive matters between and of the minority and the majority groups of India. This would have everyone be more accepting of surrounding religions such as: Islam, Sikhism, and Jainism. Promoting this would greatly decrease terrorism. It would open people’s horizons of all the different groups. The only problem that this could have is the financial support for this. This can be financed by the UN other countries. They would help pay for all the changes in tone of the media.

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